Rab Muztag GTX Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Comfortable, lightweight for the size, replaceable instep, excellent protection
Cons: Thinner material for a full length, challenging lace hook
Manufacturer: Rab Equipment
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Rab Muztag GTX
|Price||$79.95 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$44.95 at REI||Check Price at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$20.00 List||$19.95 at REI|
|Pros||Comfortable, lightweight for the size, replaceable instep, excellent protection||Durable, secure, waterproof||Easy on and off, instep cord is replaceable||Lightweight, secure, inexpensive||Super lightweight, easy to attach, flexible|
|Cons||Thinner material for a full length, challenging lace hook||Heavy for length, chunky-looking||Not versatile, instep cord wears quickly||Not waterproof, requires velcro installation on shoes||Not waterproof, requires velcro on shoes|
|Bottom Line||An adjustable, lightweight full-length gaiter for sloppy mud, rain, and winter snow||A pair of mid-length rugged gaiters with the versatility for multiple seasons||A simple, old school gaiter that is easy to put on and take off||A lightweight and comfortable pair of gaiters that are meant for the long haul||An ultralight pair of gaiters that are made for trail running and UL backpacking|
|Rating Categories||Rab Muztag GTX||REI Co-op Backpacke...||Black Diamond Talus||Dirty Girl Gaiter||Altra Trail Gaiter|
|Comfort And Breathability (25%)|
|Debris Protection (25%)|
|Ease Of Attachment (15%)|
|Water Resistance (10%)|
|Specs||Rab Muztag GTX||REI Co-op Backpacke...||Black Diamond Talus||Dirty Girl Gaiter||Altra Trail Gaiter|
|Weight for one (oz)||3.8 oz||3.5 oz||1.8 oz||0.7 oz||0.5 oz|
|Length (in)||16.5 in||10.0 in||7.0 in||7.0 in||6.50 in|
|Material||300D nylon, PU coating||Nylon||Soft Shell/Hard Shell||Polyester||Nylon|
|Water resistant?||Gore-Tex Pro||3-layer waterproof/breathable fabric||No||No||No|
|Attachment||TPU underfoot strap||Hook and loop, instep strap||Nylon cord instep strap, lace hook, velcro, snap||Hook and loop, velcro heel||Hook and loop, velcro heel|
Our Analysis and Test Results
These gaiters manage to provide top-tier protection while also remaining light and comfortable. With 16.5 inches of coverage, they are great for deep snow and wet brush.
Comfort & Breathability
One of the most redeeming characteristics of these gaiters is their comfort. Relative to other full-length models, the elastic cord at the top is comparatively innocuous. We won't go so far as to say we stop noticing them altogether, but they are definitely less restrictive than many of their closest competitors. In fact, as far as technical alpine gaiters go, these are tops on our list.
We also found that the cut of the fabric is such that they offer enough room to move without feeling baggy or falling down. We appreciate that the top interior opening has rubberized elastic that grips onto pants and helps the gaiters stay up over the course of the day. As for breathability, this model is meant more for protection, so the Gore-Tex isn't exceptionally airy, but on the plus side, they are warm. We noticed a significant difference between wearing them versus just wearing pants in freezing temperatures.
Even for full-length gaiters, these are long and offer a lot of coverage. At 16.5 inches, they sit a few inches below the knee. Tromping through a foot of snow was no problem for these gaiters and the mud that comes with winter melt was no match for them either. Though they are on the hot side for regular springtime wear, they did great with dewy tall grass and thorns.
The top cinch cord is tight enough that they easily repel most anything that might try to find its way through the top. This particular feature is also designed such that you can tighten and loosen it with one hand, even with gloves on. As discussed below, the reinforced lower half also provides extra protection. The lower portion wraps tightly around hiking or winter boots, so we never managed to get any sticks wedged underneath.
The Muztag GTX strikes a nice balance between its low weight and its durability. The upper portion is comparatively thin Gore-Tex, while the lower is a much heftier 300D nylon that is reinforced on the inside as well. This helps prevent spearing yourself with a crampon or microspike, and also offers increased protection from the typical abrasions that gaiters take from rocks and thorns.
The instep strap is wide but flat, which means it lies flush with the boot arch and is more protected from abrasion. In addition, the fibers that provide the strap's structural integrity are coated in plastic, which creates an extra layer of durability. This particular design eliminates the possibility of the adjustment buckle from breaking, since, you know, there isn't one.
One minor concern that we have is the dangling elastic cinch-cord. It is easy to tuck into the top of the gaiter, but it also doesn't have a specific place to live. We didn't have any issues during testing but we did note the possibility that it could snag on something.
Ease of Attachment
We like a few things about this model's design and one or two that we wish were more user-friendly. This pair has all of the standard components of a full-length gaiter: an instep strap, lace hook, velcro up the front, snap closure, and an elastic drawcord at the top. The instep strap attaches with adjustable velcro, which is a novel feature that we haven't come across in other top contenders. Incidentally, this also makes it removable so if you need to replace it, it is at least theoretically possible. Understandably, the velcro is on the inside, so it is not especially practical to adjust the gaiter once it is on your boot so there is definitely a little guess-and-check required the first time you put them on.
The underhand lace hook is broad with a narrow opening. This makes it especially secure once you slide it in place, however, we found that it is more difficult to use than it needs to be, especially with cold and/or gloved fingers (it is also challenging to unhook it at the end of the day as well). On the plus side though, both the velcro that runs up the front as well as the elastic cord at the top are as easy as they come, especially the former, which we found to be frustration-free when it came to lining up both sides of the velcro (which is often not the case with full-length gaiters).
Similar to their debris performance, their water resistance is excellent. They are primarily made of 30D Gore-Tex, which is essentially like a rain jacket for your legs. As long as your boots are waterproof as well, moving through shin-high streams is no problem.
Depending on the type of pants you are wearing, heavy rain might find its way down through the top to some degree. Pants with a little more stretch and flexibility fill the very small gaps between the gaiter and a leg slightly better, but by and large, our socks and feet remained well-protected and dry no matter the weather. Similarly, because they are thin and waterproof, these gaiters dry much faster than the typical full-length pair as well.
Despite being a full-length gaiter, they are only marginally heavier than many mid-size models and, at 3.5 ounces each, are one of the lightest fulls that we have tested. We appreciate the attention to bulk reduction.
Though we wouldn't bring them with us unless we knew that high gaiters were going to be necessary, if they are an essential piece of equipment for the conditions, they certainly don't add an appreciable amount of weight, whether you are wearing them or carrying them in your pack.
Dry feet are worth a lot in the outdoors, and we think these gaiters deliver. They carry good value because of their weatherproof performance. Though they aren't the heftiest full-length gaiters we have seen, we do not doubt that they will last for years of winter adventuring. You get more than what you pay for with this model and we would go back and purchase them again.
The Rab Muztag GTX is one of our favorites for almost any cold-weather condition. From deep snow to freezing rain or the messy thaw of spring, this is the gaiter that will keep you comfortable and protected.
— Ben Applebaum-Bauch